Wednesday, August 21, 2013

School supplies aren't just for students

I am a fan of Back-To-School season. It's a time to see what new products, like crayola, have come out, help out students & teachers with their school supply needs at participating school supply drives and its also a time stock up office supplies.

Folders or Portfolio?
Folders are great for your leave-behind resume/portfolio.
Folders from Target
Notebook paper filler for business folder.
Having a notebook helps to track ideas and plan for upcoming projects and events.
Notebook paper from Albertson's
Stock up on the little things.
Pencils, pens, erasers, crayons are things designers & artists use regularly.
Pencils/Erasers from Target.  Crayons, pencil case and pens from Walmart.
Backpack/Art bag essentials.
Back-To-School season always makes available necessities for all.
Halo from QVC, Carmex from Walmart, other goodies from Albertson's
Get Organized.
Back-To-School season offers the opportunity to organize your space with storage pieces, pick up a calendar and other organizational tools.
Schools supplies from Target and Walgreens

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Graphic Design Tip - Different Kinds of Menus

More Menu Ideas

Staying on the topic of MENUS for this month, their several different kinds of menus to design for.
Restaurant Menus, Take-Out Menus, Bar Menus, Catering Menus, Wedding and Dinner Party Menus. Whatever menus that are being design should reflect the theme for the occasion. If you are a designer looking for inspiration or you are in need of a menu design, inspiration can be found in several places.

Restaurant Branding:

designed by Oat Creative Studio
La Vittoria Branding

 Bar Menus:

Chilli Club Cocktails
The Commons Bar

Dinner Menus:

Birthday Dinner Menu
Luncheon Menu

Unique marketing ideas for restuarants:

Unique marketing

Urban Plate restuarant branding

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Graphic Design Tip - Menus

image from
A restaurant menu design reflects of the restaurant. The menu descriptions, layouts and colors, formal, casual or playful, should match your restaurant concept, the location and/or theme. provide steps you can take and ideas to consider throughout the process. provides examples of best practices when creating menus answering the question "how you want your customers to feel when they walk in your restaurant". Also has several tutorials and exercise files for designers to use and learn from.

Monday, August 12, 2013

MondayMakeover - Menus help sell your product

A well-designed menu is a marketing and merchandising tool, and it will help you sell your product. While working in corporate, a client came needing to freshen up their menu. The client wanted to have a look all their own and we had to turn this around in 3 days.
The original Mt. Fuji take out menu
As you can see, this menu was awkward in size, had no consistency and a whole lot of content.
After several proofs, corrections and graphic changes, here's what we came up with.

Mt. Fuji take out menu

Main image and background image was found on
First, I found a beautiful image from Shutterstock which would be the focal point and color palette for the menu. 
The background image was one vector image used as a repeating pattern. 
The second was using Cochin as the main font for the menu. 

The original menu had fonts that made the menu hard to read.
 The client wanted to keep the contact information on the front.
 I cleaned up the map and added up to date logos for credit cards. 
(Yes - it's important to updated credit card images if they have changed)
17"x11" flat, front and back full color, no bleed
The client wanted to keep the size of the menu 17"x11" flat which folded down to a 4 panel brochure style; that way the menus can be added to all take out orders, placed in hotels and business that have rack card holders. Both front and back of paper real estate was used with no bleed, which brought down the cost of production.
Mt. Fuji lunch menu is now readable
Mt. Fuji had a small budget, to help keep the cost down, I added the lunch menu to two of the panels and enlarged the font and utilized the white space. White space is a good thing, it keeps the menu clean and readable. 

Because most people have a short amount of time for lunch, the copy was made larger than the 
rest of the menu for easy readability.
A panel for on-going specials
Mt. Fuji wanted have the specials visible to their clients. I added the specials opposite the front cover of the menu, like business cards that get flipped, brochures get flipped to see what's on the opposite side. 

Before the coupon offers looked more like coupons in a newspaper, here we kept the coupons clean and reflective of the restaurants identity. All of the copy in your menu should be truthful, 
well-written and grammatically correct.
Copy must be accurate  -  a lot of proof reading
The challenging part of this menu, was making their menu selection fit. With food allergies and food diets today, it is important to list the ingredients in what you serve. I kept the font style the same through the menu and made the description italic and smaller than the product name. Each area of food was sectioned off my a heading in Cochin italic bold in purple - still maintaining the color palette.
Final Mt. Fuji take out menu
The final product was a beautiful 4 panel to go menu that gave Mt. Fuji it's own identity. 
Later Mt. Fuji requested a pull out menu for their sushi bar. Good designs keeps the client coming back.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ever have a design block?

Every designer/artist has experienced creative blocks. There are several things I do, when creative slumps happen. Here are my TOP 6 DESIGN BLOCK BUSTERS! This can also apply to getting creative ideas and inspirations.

1. Go People Watching: Take a lunch break or any break, bring a pencil and sketch while you are people watching. People are fun and interesting subjects. Maybe, you are not into people watching, instead sketch our nature or the architecture.

2. Go to the bookstore or library. Design is all over the place in bookstores and libraries. The great thing about bookstores and libraries is that you can take your time read a couple of pages in a book, appreciate great cover design and page layout and/or study material in your vocation.

3. Cook, craft or paint. Getting away from the computer and focusing on another task can clear your thoughts. Giving yourself time to think about something else, just might be give you the inspiration you need.

4. Stay Social. Visiting sites like Behance, Pinterest, Flickr and Etsy could fuel the creative juices when you see what other creative types are doing. There is so many great designs out there - you will be inspired. NOTE: give yourself a time limit - you could end up spending hours surfing all the lovely images.

5. Indulge in the arts. Go see a play, a musical, visit the museum, visit a couple of galleries or take a behind the scene tour of an opera house. Give yourself time to enjoy the arts and see things from a different perspective.
(image credit:

6. Go window shopping. Design overlaps into fashion, home decor, and graphic design. Take a walk through a store, see how advertisements are placed throughout. Admire window displays throughout the seasons of what's in trend.
(image credit: